Former Fox Valley resident to receive Grammy Award

Violinist Maud Powell to be recognized posthumously

Published: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 5:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 10:53 a.m. CDT
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(Provided photo)
The late Maud Powell, a former Aurora resident and world-renowned violinist, will be honored alongside The Beatles as a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient at the 56th annual Grammy Awards.

At the 56th annual Grammy Awards, a former Fox Valley resident will be honored alongside The Beatles and Kris Kristofferson as a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. The late Maud Powell, one of the world’s greatest violinists and a former resident of Aurora, will receive a Grammy posthumously Saturday, Jan. 25.

A formal acknowledgment will be made during the Grammy Awards telecast on the CBS TV Network the night of Sunday, Jan. 26.

In addition to The Beatles, Kristofferson and Powell, other honorees of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award include Mexican-born singer, songwriter and pianist Armando Manzanero; the late Blues Hall of Fame inductee Clifton Chenier; pop music group The Isley Brothers and electronic band Kraftwerk.

“It is a great privilege to recognize such an exceptional group of honorees and celebrate their accomplishments and contributions to the recording industry,” The Recording Academy president/CEO Neil Portnow said in a news release. “This astoundingly unique and gifted group have created some of the most distinguished and influential work in our musical history.

“Their legacies are timeless and legendary, and their creativity will continue to influence and inspire future generations,” he said.

Born in Peru, Ill., in 1867, Powell moved to Aurora at age 3. Starting from a young age, she received the best musical education in the U.S. and Europe, where she became the first American-born concert violinist to achieve international stature, according to the release.

At age 16, she debuted with the New York Philharmonic Society. By the 20th century, it was evident she had become the best violin player of her generation, the release stated.

The Victor Talking Machine Co., which was experimenting with recording the human voice, chose Powell as its first instrumental recording artist in 1904, later making her the first violinist to create best-selling records, the release stated.

The world-renowned violinist died in 1920 in Uniontown, Penn.

Powell’s legacy continues locally in the form of the Maud Powell String Quartet, which is made up of members of the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra – a scholarship ensemble for high school and college-age advanced string players in Elgin.